Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Serious science fights back

I have probably been excessively passionate in my defense of science over the years.  Growing up in a home that trafficked in a belief system set me up to become very fond of an intellectual system that didn't ask you to believe anything except your own eyes.  Science wasn't built on reputations—it was built on experimentation.  I liked that a LOT.

Because science is so powerful and useful, there have been MANY charlatans over the years that have claimed their snake oil was scientific.  And so for many of those who didn't turn into hopeless science junkies, the question of what is scientific and what is not isn't very clear.  The success of the climate change denialists in USA is a vivid reminder of the dangers of not getting this basic point straight.

I am a bit too old to have become a fan of Bill Nye.  But from what I have seen of his work, he seems like just the sort of person you would want to teach science to your 10-year-old.  And because he has been on TV for years, he has some interesting insights into how the media works.  And he is correct about the utter lack of media coverage over such a life-threatening subject as climate change.

Bill Nye Addresses Climate Change, 'Disappointed' In The Media (VIDEO)

The Huffington Post | By James Gerken  07/30/2012

When asked if he was disappointed by President Obama's relative silence on climate change recently, Bill Nye told CNN last week that if he is "disappointed," it's by the media. He said, "I think if the media asked him, asked both of these people who are running for president of the United States, about climate change, they'd have to respond."

Nye noted the conspicuous absence of climate change discussion in the media, saying, "The environment is a very important issue. I guess, if I understand this, it's fallen by the wayside for a few months while we talk about the economy." A July 2012 study by Media Matters found that out of hundreds of broadcasts and print articles about wildfires in 2012, only three perent mentioned long-term climate change.

Nye told CNN that he's looking forward to the upcoming presidential debates, and hopes that Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney are asked about climate change. Come November, he says, "We'll find out how everybody stands on the environment and climate change." more

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